Carucci assesses Texans at midseason

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Earlier this year, HoustonTexans.com's Nick Scurfield interviewed NFL.com senior columnist Vic Carucci during Carucci's visit to Texans training camp. Scurfield caught up with Carucci again during the Texans' bye week to revisit some of their earlier discussion on the team and to get his assessment on the Texans' season.

Carucci is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for nearly 30 years. A past president of the Professional Football Writers of America and a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee, he has written numerous books about football and regularly serves as a host and analyst on SIRIUS NFL Radio.

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Nick Scurfield:We talked before the season when you were at Texans training camp. Back then, you said the Texans were capable of winning 10 games this season. As they head into their bye week at 5-4, how do you feel about your prediction now?

Vic Carucci: I still feel pretty good about it. This is a young football team and at times, they look young, they look like a team that I believe doesn't have a starter over 30, if I'm right about that. And I think that's part of their problem with regard to maybe not winning more games at this point.

But they're off to the most successful start of the franchise history, which came with that win at Buffalo. That was twofold: not only did they reach that milestone, but they won they type of game that I think earlier Texan teams, even last year, wouldn't have won because they had to establish themselves as a playoff contender and likely, I think, a wildcard contender given where the Colts are in that division. That was a game that, to me, indicated a lot about their maturity level and their ability to sustain success, and that was a third consecutive victory, so it made a lot of statements.

Now, losing a close one to the Colts, I know there are no moral victories in the NFL. There are many instances where the Texans are going to look back on that game and be very frustrated that they didn't do enough to win a game that was winnable for them against the Colts and that you might not have a better opportunity to beat them than they did in Indianapolis. But I would still say that that gives them some level of confidence going into the second half of the season after this bye."

Nick Scurfield:The Texans are one of 10 teams in the AFC with a record of 4-4 or better. Where do you see the Texans in the playoff picture?

Vic Carucci:I see them right in the teeth of it. It is going to be a very difficult challenge because the AFC right now looks like maybe a little more of a tough terrain, not as even a terrain competitively, perhaps, as we see in the NFC…

I guess that's part of the reason that if you're Houston, knowing that you're as far behind now as you are with the Colts, you've got to stay focused on winning the games that you should win when you get an opportunity. And when you face a struggling Tennessee team, you can't let that go – even though Tennessee, probably, in the eyes of the Texans are still the Titans, still a very tough football team. But they're 2-6 right now, they've won a couple in a row. I don't know that they've revived themselves to get back in the playoff race, but they certainly are good enough to try to mess up other team's efforts to get into the playoffs.

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For more, including Carucci's thoughts on rookie linebacker Brian Cushing, safety Bernard Pollard and quarterback Matt Schaub, click here to listen to the full interview in a HoustonTexans.com podcast.*

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